Time to cheer up, guys. The boring, boring weekends are over. What has been two weeks without meaningful Premier League football seems like a lifetime to me.
As I have mentioned a few times previously, the International breaks are one of the most irritating things about football but given that Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas had some much needed break, I am not going to complain much this time around.
So, let’s get back to football. Chelsea, after securing an away win at Anfield in the last game before the break, sit comfortably at the top of the league, 4 points clear of Southampton and a cool 8 points clear of 3rd placed league rivals Manchester City. It would be an understatement to say that the Blues are in superb form this season, and an easy win is expected for the home side when they welcome the Baggies at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
West Bromwich Albion, on the other hand, sit in the 13th position with 3 wins in their 11 league games so far. The Baggies didn’t have the best of starts this season, but with 4 clean sheets in 11 games so far, they have certainly impressed enough at the back, that it wouldn’t be a walk in the park for the Blues when they line up against the visitors. Add to that, Jose Mourinho’s comments on the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge; the weekend certainly promises to be a cracking one tomorrow.
So, keeping in mind all the factors, we decided to analyze a few player battles that may play a big role in influencing the outcome of this game. Here’s what we learned:
SAIDO BERAHINO vs JOHN TERRY
With 7 league goals in 11 starts and 31 shots on target, the 21-year-old Burundi born English forward is the new sensation in the Premier League. The highest scoring Englishman in the top flight, Berahino has been one of the main reason for West Brom’s decent start to the season.
The freshly called-up England man has gone from promising youngster to first-choice striker in three months, and he’s now West Brom’s main attacking threat. But the young forward would arguably face the toughest test of his season, when he comes up against one of the best CBs in the world in John Terry.
Berahino’s main strength is his ability to run in behind defenders with his pace which means John Terry and Gary Cahill will have to be on their heels to close off the spaces for the young forward to run into. With 2 weeks of deserved rest under his belt, Terry should be fit and fresh enough to nullify the threat posed by Berahino at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, but given the form the 21-year-old is in, we definitely suggest you to watch out for this battle.
ANDRE WISDOM vs EDEN HAZARD
I do love watching Hazard play. Slippery as an eel, an electric eel! — Gary Lineker
Ha! I was thinking of yet another metaphor to describe the Belgian before I realized that I am running out of them; such has been the impact of Hazard on the left wing this season.
The 23-year-old winger has scored 3 goals and assisted 1 in the 11 league games so far this season with 20 shots on target. The goals to game ratio might look meager to a neutral, but ask any Chelsea fan and he would tell you what an impact the Belgian has had on the pitch so far. With more than 50 take-on, the most fouled player in the Premier League will look to continue his breathtaking displays on the wings, when he comes up against 21-year-old Andre Wisdom at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
Wisdom has been decent for the Baggies in the right back spot so far this season, but the fullback is at the risk of ending the game as yet another player who got destroyed in a futile attempt to stop the Belgian in his quest to glory. Do watch out for this battle on the left side of our pitch tomorrow; should be quite fun!
CRAIG DAWSON vs DIEGO COSTA
Sitting at the heart of West Brom’s defense, Craig Dawson has unarguably been the best player for the Baggies this season. If Berahino has been the main attacking threat for Irvine’s side, Dawson has been the reason for the 4 clean sheets they have managed in the season so far. With the signing of Joleon Lescott from Manchester City, the defense looks quite decent for the Baggies, although, still not formidable enough to stop a fully fit Diego Costa.
Costa has been in and out of the side due to injury, but the Spanish striker has already managed to reach double digits in the goalscoring tally. With the kind of form he is in, the Premier League’s most complete striker needs only to stay fit to take the title to Stamford Bridge.
The lanky 6 feet 2 inch defender is a beast in the air but for all his hard work and physicality, he would still find it really difficult to stop the Chelsea striker from getting into goalscoring positions and perhaps scoring the winner at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. Nevertheless, quite an interesting battle we have on our hands tomorrow.
Edited By: Girish Bhangre